How to Help Someone Who Has Difficulty Swallowing and Drinking

What's left in your caregiver bag of tricks to entice your loved one to drink once it starts getting difficult to offer liquids even on a baby spoon or through a straw?

  1. Try an oral syringe if the ability to suck or swallow seems to disappear. You can get them at hospital supply stores or from your local pharmacy.

  2. Use a small oral sponge to offer water or juice refreshment. Some medications for late-stage dementia are dispensed this way. (To clean an oral syringe or sponge, just rinse it with water and allow it to air-dry.)

  3. Take care to keep the lips and gums moistened, for comfort as well as hydration.


5 months ago, said...

Any tips on a easy way to give meds to a patient that has trouble drinking and swallowing? Any response will be greatly appreciated. Thank you mistic1432


5 months ago, said...

My mother in law is in her last stages of dying she has Alzheimer's and doesn't know how to drink or eat anymore..I was sorry but thankful to see others going thru the same things and helping me learn how to comfort her in many ways from tips to feelings..THANK YOU


almost 2 years ago, said...

Thank you. I provided all three of these methods to help my daddy during this stage. Along with speaking to him about other things, I would tell him that I'm going to give him a drink or moisten his mouth before I did it...


almost 4 years ago, said...

My wife has just entered the stage where swollowing is difficult, I found the use of drink thickeners helpful, making drinks thick means I can spoon tablespoonfulls of fluid into her mouth without her pooling them in her mouth with the risk that the swallowing reflex does not occur and the fluid go down the wrong way.


about 4 years ago, said...

I found a medicine dropper easier to manage than a syringe .. the droppers are available at most drug or pharmacy counters and are even offered freely at the pharmacy where I got my Dad's prescriptions filled.


about 4 years ago, said...

Finding out about the oral syringe and sponges.


over 4 years ago, said...

My Mary is just now at the point that she "forgets" to swallow. Sometimes she will hold liquid in her mouth until it dribbles down her chin or she gets choked. Not sure if any of the recommendations will work but will definitely try. Thank you!


about 5 years ago, said...

Simple and to the point--elegant. Thanks Paula for the reminders--especially, to keep the mouth and lips moist.


about 5 years ago, said...

Never thought about the syringe. Great idea!


over 5 years ago, said...

Have just purchased an oral salivator in the form of a spray which is easy to administer to a dry mouth after sleeping with the mouth open. This is to prevent ulcers forming. Less distressing to the patient than swabs. Gels last longer but ease and speed is kinder.